The heirloom bean list below is for Bean Club members. You can become a Bean Club member simply by ordering any of these seeds. Thereafter we will send you an annual e-newsletter to keep you up to date with the varieties available for you to grow. We will also tell you about any new ones we will be trialling. Almost all the beans below are Climbing French Beans. Recommended donation per variety £2.75. Thank you for supporting our conservation work. Please order from November to mid May. VERY IMPORTANT – please also see our notes below this list.
This bean list is special. Please make sure you really have room to grow out to the seed stage if you are growing more than one variety. Each variety needs to be planted approximately 10 metres from the next variety to prevent any chance of cross-fertilisation. Also it is better to grow a few varieties successfully to the seed stage. It is not just the sowing of the seeds, it is having the time to put up the canes, label the varieties, maintaining the plants through the summer, watering during dry spells, and finally harvesting properly. This all takes time – we should know! PLEASE ORDER ONLY ONE PACKET PER BEAN VARIETY (YOU MAY ORDER ANY NUMBER OF VARIETIES – but see above), and do grow on some of your bean plants for gathering, saving, and storing some of your own seed for the following year! We send out once only the variety/varieties you ask for. It is important then to look after your plants and save seed from them so that you become independent of us! When you have plenty of seed, give some away to other growers and give them information about how to save seed too. Remember to label the varieties. Please order heirloom bean seed between November and mid May. Then you will get the latest-harvest seed. Our recommended sowing time is the end of May which will allow the beans to grow to maturity and set seed within the 4 summer months. We usually give approximately 26 seeds per packet and recommend two tepee set-ups of bean plants – one for eating the pods (approx. 20 plants), and a separate one next to it (same variety) just for seed-saving (approx. 6 plants). Give approx. 10 metres distance between varieties. See our pages on BEAN CULTIVATION and on SEED SAVING
You may notice that we now grow mainly climbing beans rather than dwarf varieties. Nowadays many people have small gardens with limited space so we advise growing a climber to get a larger crop for the space taken up. It takes a bit longer to get to the harvest stage, but the reward is greater!
Our own seed harvest is ready in mid-end November each year. We have to offer our bean seeds on a first-come-first-served basis as we have limited stock. If you put our website into your Favourites and check the list, you can best ensure you obtain the bean seeds you want.
NOTE We reiterate that we are not year-on-year suppliers of the heirloom bean seeds on this list. We only send out these varieties (each variety once only!) on the understanding that some plants will be grown out for seed-saving for your future seed stock. When you have plenty of saved seed, give some seeds away to friends, write down for them the name of the bean variety, and ask them to grow, label, save and give away seeds themselves to others. If you are concerned about your success with seed-saving, we suggest you practise for one season with a variety from our organic bean list as we can send you these as often as you wish. Once you get the hang of growing for seed-saving, go for a special bean. You can also have the fun of going to a Seed Swap event in the winter. Look online for your nearest. Growing your own seeds will make you friends, save you money, and prevent these old varieties from becoming extinct, so that future generations can enjoy them too. Easy to do ! See our web pages on bean cultivation and seed-saving.